When it comes to students’ worries, I can tell you that there is only one thing that scores higher on the scary scale than telling your landlord about all the things that you broke in the house or running out of food money in one night spent in O2 and then surviving on cup soups for a whole week – jobs! Jobs are the bizarre things that we, students, are supposed to get at the end of the three or four years of university. If you have visited the Careers Service before (if you didn’t, please go now before it is too late – if you turn up in your third year, in May, with no experience, asking them to find you a job, not having done anything about it yourself, then I am sorry to disappoint you, but they advisers, not Jesus – they can’t perform miracles), you have probably heard about some weird things, that require you to sacrifice a summer (bye, bye, holiday in Hawaii!) to… errmm…work, like real adults do. These things are called internships!
Now, finding out that it would be in your favour to take up an internship over the summer might not be such a bad news. However, actually finding an internship that fits both your interests and area of study, and also provides you with at least some basic income that would cover your living costs -that is the real struggle!
As a Politics and IR/History student, you might think that your options are quite limited! I do not want you to get too excited, just because I want you to avoid future disappointments – but… there are internships out there! Not too many, not all of them are convenient – but you have some to choose from. I have gone through a lot of internship hunting myself before, and in this exciting (or not so much) journey, I have discovered quite a few resources and work opportunities that might be helpful for you. You can find some of them listed below! 🙂
Civil Service internships
Calling all the Politics and IR (and not only) students who have thought about a career in the government at some point before or during their degree – this is your type of opportunity! The Civil Service offers two main internship schemes: the Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP) and the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP). The EDIP runs every spring, for a week, and it is aimed mainly at first year students (Details here: https://www.faststream.gov.uk/early-diversity-internship-programme/). The SDIP runs for 2-3 months every summer, and it is aimed at second and third year students (Details here: https://www.faststream.gov.uk/summer-diversity-internship-programme/). Both offer you the chance to spend some time working in a governmental department and undertaking tasks, such as writing briefings to ministers or participating in meeting at various levels in the Civil Service hierarchy. They are also a great way to get you prepared for the Fast Stream, in case you are considering applying for it. (I have participated in both internship programmes myself, and I cannot recommend them more. Also, if you have any questions about them, please, do not hesitate to leave them in a comment.)
The Civil Service also runs two schemes which are more specialised and independent from the Fast Stream preparation track. The first one targets Economics and Finance (and all other related fields) students and you can find more details about it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-apply-for-a-government-economic-service-sandwich-student-placement. The second aims to attract future social researchers, and details about it can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-apply-for-a-government-social-research-summer-student-placement.
I don’t know if you have already heard about this website, but for me it has been a truly amazing resource in searching for jobs, particularly in the charitable sector: https://www.charityjob.co.uk/. The website advertises vacancies and intern positions for various charities across the UK, and sometimes abroad. It has multiple advance search tools, which can help you search for the right opportunities for you more easily. It is also updated regularly, so you can find new opportunities all the time.
Another amazing similar website is: http://www.w4mpjobs.org/. On this one, you can find more opportunities for charity work abroad, but also lots of opportunities to get experience working for an MP or in a political party.
Working for an MP
As mentioned above, http://www.w4mpjobs.org/ is an amazing resource in obtaining an internship with an MP. However, I would advise you to also write to your local MP and ask about any possibility for you to join him or her in their office for a while. You would be surprised how many MPs are willing to help students like you get some hands-on experience! Be aware though, that in many cases, they would not be able to offer you a paid internship. Some more details about this sort of opportunity can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/about/working/mp/.
I hope this short list will help some of you find the internship/job of your dreams! Do you know about any other opportunities that you would like to share? 🙂